Belladonna by Adalyn Grace

Belladonna by Adalyn Grace; a purple-pink cover, with 2 birds sitting on some branches of a plant with flowers and berries (presumably belladonna)

But Death did not need to be seen; he was to be felt. He was a weight upon the chest, or a collar buttoned too tight. A fall into frigid, lethal waters. Death was suffocating, and he was ice.

Book Review by The Girl Who Reads

Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the chance to read Belladonna by Adalyn Grace. In case someone doesn’t want to stick around for the full post, Belladonna is a fantastic read, perfect if you’re a fan of the V. E. Schwab books, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and Gallant.

Belladonna comes out on the 30th of August. It’s a young adult book, and can be further classified as YA fantasy, YA thriller/ mystery, and historical fantasy. It’s 416 pages long and beautifully written. I can 100% imagine all the merchandise that people can make from this because the book is pretty quotable. I hate saying that but it’s true! I have 19 lines highlighted on my kindle! Belladonna is also the first book in the series by the same name, and while I’m not sure how many books we’ll get from the series, I can already tell you that I will request the second one on NetGalley as soon as I can and probably get pretty hardcover editions of all of them. The second book is titled Foxglove (according to Goodreads).

It’s also not Adalyn Grace’s first book. She’s also the author of All the Stars and Teeth duopoly, which seems to have incredibly well received (NYT called the it the biggest YA fantasy of 2020).

Review Time

Signs has always been surrounded by poison; her parents death at a young age to her immunity from belladonna. As an heiress, she’s also been surrounded by poisonous people, who really just want access to her money so that they can finance their lives. As she moves to her final guardians home, she discovers that she may have the chance to actually live the life that she wants; one where she is a lady and be wooed and swept off her feet and have her own home. It’s just the home that she gets to is in disarray as her aunt has died and her cousin lies there kicking on deaths door.

Signa trembled like a hummingbird. Someone had truly arrived to retrieve her. To whisk her away to a family high within the social hierarchy, with whom she might wear beautiful gowns and sip tea with other women and have the life she yearned for.

Signa, as a charter goes through tremendous growth. She starts off as someone who doesn’t understand what her abilities could mean and is ready to be rescued, to someone who takes action when she needs to. She knows that if she doesn’t investigate, this group of people, who she is getting fond of, could all be gone soon; the life that she wanted could be gone, and she works to keep it.

Spoilers Ahead:

“Your name is no curse, Little Bird. I just like the taste of it.”

I did feel like her relationship with Death was done a bit too quickly; I wish it had developed more. The way it was, it felt more like brutal attraction rather than something more.

I loved how Blythe and Percy were set up, although I don’t understand what Percy’s plan for Blythe was, given that I know he did love her in some way. Byron was absolved too quickly, and I wish we had seen more of Charlotte in the book. I really did love how Adalyn Grace showed us that these young women, despite their wealth and, seemingly, good fortune, were trapped. It was also good to see Signa grow out of the desire to be one of them quickly. It was also really funny to see that it’s hinted to Signa that her mother, despite being very interesting and beautiful, wasn’t really a nice person, and that she just brushes it off and thinks that she could be more free like her mother.

With all her pretenses lost, her words became sharper and more venomous. Possibly, it was because there was no need to impress him. No need for social graces and second-guessing her every thought and action. With him, there was no pretending. Perhaps this was simply who she was.

Spoilers over

I feel like most readers will just fall in love with the authors style of writing. She has a way of puts into words a lot of things we’ve felt but never really said out loud:

Someone whose name alone could soften a voice.

Like who says that?

Anyway, as of me writing this, Belladonna is on sale, so I would 100% suggest you pre-order it!

Question of the Day: What NetGalley approvals are you really excited to get into?

Blurb for Belladonna

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.
 
However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.

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